There was a time when the presence of roadside prostitution clubs was as common an image in the rural landscape as were churches and soccer fields. Sex, religion and sport were the backbone of the idle and spiritual life of the average Spaniard.
And although today the roadside prostitution clubs are not going through their best moment, they have been shaken hard by the Covid and by the social perception, it is estimated that about 300 locals are still operating, announcing with their neon lights, their promises of easy sex on the roads of Spain. They represent 18% of the 1,600 brothels that, according to the Security Forces, are open in Spain.
The business – they say – has mutated, especially in the provincial capitals, from roadside clubs to private apartments, but it is still a gold mine. Spain is the first consumer in Europe and the third in the world, behind Thailand and Puerto Rico. A business that generates daily profits in excess of five million euros, most of it in black money, according to the Attorney General’s Office. One more fact: 39 percent of Spanish men have paid at least once for sex. Let’s compare its turnover figures with those of other leading companies in Spain.
Prostitution is neither prohibited nor permitted in Spain. Only pimps are punished, as long as a relationship of sexual exploitation can be proven, and sex, consensual or not, with minors.
Provision of services
How have brothel and club owners managed to avoid justice so far? It is simple. It is apparently the women who exploit themselves freely. The owners only obtain income from the rental of rooms, the sale of alcohol and other minor services: security, condoms….
The reality often goes the other way. In Spain, some 45,000 people a year enter the country to be used for sexual exploitation. They are foreigners without papers and are victims of human trafficking, who are recruited with misleading job offers and offered a paradise in our country, either by threats or by force to be exploited.
Premises in the spotlight
With the new bill, which is still being processed, not only pimps will be prosecuted, but also those who rent their premises to “favor or facilitate sexual exploitation activities” for profit and in a situation of domination over prostitutes. This is, according to the Government, a “fight against sexual exploitation” that penalizes the prostitution of others, i.e. pimping. In previous laws, “the regulation was ambiguous, so that some courts did not apply it.”